Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #3 is the highlight of this series so far–it’s funnier, smarter, more irreverent, and yet also more insightful than the first two issues. I also like that #3 is more integrated into the larger Secret Wars (2015) universe, tapping into the major themes that make this event interesting: heroism, rebellion, and sacrifice.
In DSSW #1 and #2, there are a couple of great moments where Wade Wilson feels self-conscious about being teamed up with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. There’s a strong implication that he shouldn’t be there, or doesn’t deserve to be, and that if they knew who and what he really was, they’d reject him.
I really, really love the premise of this series, because it cuts right to the heart of what makes Deadpool such an awesome character. Cheekily inserting a fourth wall-breaking jester into a time and place he doesn’t belong, Deadpool and DSSW are centered on the idea that we can flip the script and rewrite history–just because it’s funny, or just because we choose to, or just because we can, dammit.
Whether he’s a hero or an anti-hero, Deadpool’s heroism is all about rewriting–about messing up the status quo and disrupting the way things are supposed to happen. If Wade can save the day on Battleworld, it doesn’t just mean sacrificing the sacred cows of comics canon, or satirizing a cheesy 1984 comics event, or poking fun at a cheesy 2015 comics event. And it’s not just about deciding whether Deadpool is a hero or an anti-hero or no kind of hero at all–it’s about defining heroism, full stop.
Recently, Wade has been granted his ultimate wish: perfectly handsome good looks. Initially, he’s pretty protective of his gorgeous new appearance.
But by the end of issue #3, we see that Wade is willing to give up his newfound beauty to save his friends.
The turning point seems to happen when Wade tries on black symbiote suit (yeah, that one). Thanks to a magical psychic sewing machine, he can finally looks like the cool, brave heroes he so desperately wants to be. However, he quickly realizes that the black suit’s not for him–he says that he’s not willing to subject a sentient lifeform to the horrors of “communicating with [his] brain”, but I like to think that Wade’s decided to be true to himself. You don’t have to be blond and gorgeous to be a good person, after all. Moreover, we see Wade give up what he literally prizes more than anything to save his friends. That’s what real heroism looks like, right?
At the end of the issue, the heroes manage to defeat Galactus and the Beyondor, but unfortunately their efforts leave an omnipotent Dr Doom as the “Supreme Being in the Universe”, apparently poised to install himself as God Doom. Battleworld’s new deity also has a perfect, handsome face–yet more proof that (incoming cheese alert) it’s what’s inside what really counts, kids.
Deadpool versus Doom: for me, this is really the point that clarifies the nature of Wade Wilson’s heroism. Almost all of the Secret Wars (2015) titles and tie-ins seem to suggest that the perfect foil to Doom’s universe-binding despotism is self-sacrificing disruption.
In Secret Wars Journal, we’ve seen familiar heroes sacrificing themselves in futile protests against Doom’s rule. In Captain Marvel, the Carol Corps strikes out against ignorance and repression, no matter what the cost. The Runaways kids rebel against their dystopian high school nightmare, while heroes like Abigail Brand in Siege and Angela in Witch Hunter Angela have to balance protecting the innocent to blind allegiance to an unjust and uncaring deity. In DSSW, Deadpool is proving that he’s not just a hero, but the hero Battleworld needs right now: he’s self-sacrificing and courageous, and he shoots down artificial rules and boundaries (sometimes literally).
Anyway–back to specifics. There were plenty of delightful little moments in this issue. Matteo Lolli’s art continues to be a heck of a lot of fun, including big, colorful crowd scenes as a bunch of heroes fly off toward a common enemy.
Lolli also gets to show off his gifts for humor–the mini fashion show as Wade models his favorite superhero costumes is a particular highlight.
And, perhaps most importantly, DSSW#3 is just way funnier than the first two issues. The quips and one-liners are better. Bunn has a lot more fun with his non-linear timeline, bungeeing irreverently between Nowish, A While Back, Later Earlier and Now, Again. Deadpool flirts with She-Hulk and Thor and reminisces bittersweetly about Liefeld-era pouches, and still gets to (probably?) save the day in the very near future. Good stuff!
Written by Cullen Bunn
Drawn by Matteo Lolli with colors by Ruth Redmond
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